Immerse yourself in the very place western civilisation was born as you discover the classical highlights and hidden gems of the Peleponnese and mainland Greece. Be enthralled by a dazzling array of ancient sites and be captivated by their timeless stories, myths and legends. The foundations of western art, architecture, literature, philosophy and politics are all uncovered on this tour, along with the vibrant culture of Greece today, where love of music, dancing, food and wine play such an important role in everyday life.
Fly to Athens, birthplace of democracy and home to some of the most important ancient sites in the western world. Transfer to your hotel in the central Syntagma district and, depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is at leisure to absorb the ambience of the city.
The day begins with a guided walking tour of the Acropolis of Athens. Wonder at the sublime beauty of the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike before visiting the nearby Acropolis Museum, home to exquisite marble statuary and other treasures. Later enjoy a stroll along the pedestrianised Dionysiou Areopagitou Street to the Pnyx, a hill known for its panoramic views over the city including the Acropolis. Round off the day with dinner at a traditional local restaurant with live Rebetiko music.
Via Corinth and Epidaurus to Nafplio
Tour Athens by coach and visit the National Archaeological Museum, a breathtaking collection of some of the most important treasures of ancient Greece. Then travel west to see the Corinth Canal, which connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Aegean Sea, and continue to the ancient ruins of Epidaurus. Here explore the archaeological site and its impressive theatre, one of the finest and best preserved in Greece, whose acoustics are still near-perfect today. Finally arrive at Nafplio, one of the most beautiful towns of the Peloponnese.
Via Mycenae to Ambeliona
Begin the day with a guided visit to the impressive fortified city of Mycenae, with its royal tombs and fascinating museum. Next explore the region of Nemea, known for its vineyards, and visit a local producer to learn about the wine making tradition, with a chance to taste the wines. Later drive to the mountain village of Karytaina in Arcadia, where you can learn from a local chef how to make portokalopita, a special orange flavoured cake for which this region is known. Stay overnight at the nearby village of Ambeliona, deep in the mountains of Arkadia.
Ancient Olympia and Katakolo
Start the day at Bassae, famous for its great Temple of Apollo Epicurius, a UNESCO listed architectural masterpiece. Next visit Ancient Olympia, the place where the Olympic Games began and also recognised as a World Heritage Site. The museum here contains some of the most impressive works of classical Greek art. For a change of scene visit a nearby organic honey farm, a chance to learn the secrets of honey production and taste the products. Finally, head to the nearby seaside town of Katakolo for the night, with a seafood dinner.
Begin the day with a visit to one of the oldest wine producers in Greece, Achaia Clauss. Next discover the recently-built Archaeological Museum of Patras with its incomparabale displays, then leave the Peloponnese peninsula and stop for lunch at pretty Nafpaktos. In the afternoon continue along the coast to Galaxidi and inland to Delphi, in the foothills of Mt Parnassus. Dinner at a local restaurant with magnificent mountain and sea views.
This morning enjoy a guided tour of ancient Delphi in its lovely mountain setting, and also visit its remarkable museum. Regarded in ancient times as the cultural and religious centre of the world, your visit today may well become a highlight of your tour. From Delphi drive north to Meteora, one of the most important monastic sites in Greece, where you can admire magnificent views of the rock formations at sunset.
Today is dedicated to exploring the precipitously built monasteries of Meteora and discovering the other-worldly beauty of the region. Visit two of the most famous monasteries, with a climb of between 150 to 300 steps to each. The effort is worth it, as sumptuous views open up over the valley floor while surrounding monasteries reveal themselves. Later today, venture into Meteora’s forests for a unique truffle hunting experience, rounded off with truffle and wine tastings.
Via Thermopylae to Athens
First visit historic Thermopylae, known for the famous Greek-Persian battle in 480 BC, then stop at Kamena Vourla for a seafood lunch before arriving back in Athens. Later in the afternoon you will have the chance to learn how to dance in the traditional Greek style, with instruction from an excellent and experienced dance teacher. Then enjoy a farewell dinner at the old market of Monastiraki, with magnificent views to the Acropolis and live Greek music.
Fly Athens to the UK
Transfer to Athens airport for your return flight to the UK.